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Mark S. Hamm (ed): The Spectacular Few: Prisoner Radicalisation and the Evolving Terrorist Threat

Crime, Law and Social Change

Published online on


‘Research shows that Islam in prison poses a security threat only under certain conditions of confinement: In mismanaged understaffed and overcrowded maximum security prisons where offenders are radicalised through a process of one-on-one proselytizing by charismatic leaders. Otherwise Islam has a moderating effect on prisoners which plays an important role in prison security and rehabilitation’ (Hamm 2013, p. 214).

Mark Hamm has made himself something of an expert in the field of prisoner radicalisation.

A former prison warden himself and now a professor of criminology, he has carried out meticulous research in this field over many years. He writes vividly, outlining the powerful history of prisoner radicalisation, drawing on case studies of Winston Churchill, Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, and Adolf Hitler (who said he would not have written Mein Kampf if he had not gone to prison), to make the important point that the experience of imprisonment, and individual responses to it, can pr ...